Jake Peavy wasn’t exactly a heavily sought after trade target at the annual non-waiver deadline in July, but the former Cy Young Award winner has been nails for the San Francisco Giants since swapping red and white for orange and black. Peavy, a 13-year veteran, had become a symbol for the Boston Red Sox‘ ugly 2014 World Series defense, suffering nine losses in 20 starts while recording a 4.72 ERA.
On July 26, Peavy had chalked just one win to his name on the season while allowing the most home runs in all of baseball (20). A change was desperately needed for the 136-game winner. The Giants gave him that. Now, Peavy is giving the Giants what they were in dire need of after Matt Cain underwent season-ending elbow surgery: consistency out of the back end of the starting rotation.
Peavy has surrendered three runs or less in six of his seven starts with the Giants. He’s pitched at least seven innings while allowing no more than two earned runs in four consecutive starts, winning more games during that span (three) than he won all season in Boston (one).
Peavy isn’t the flashy mid=season prize that Giants fans craved, but he’s been vastly more efficient than David Price, who owns a 1-4 record with a 4.41 ERA over five starts since being traded to the Detroit Tigers. The Giants’ fiery right-hander took a no-hitter into the eighth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers on Saturday night, matching a season-high eight strikeouts in the process.
The gritty attitude that Peavy takes to the mound is something the Giants had been missing. The 33-year-old wears his emotions on his sleeves more so than a 13-year-old at the Little League World Series. His fierceness is matched by the defense behind him. On a night where it seemed like Peavy was going to do something extraordinarily special, it would have never felt that way if it weren’t for web-gem worthy snags by Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Crawford.
Winning is a team thing. It always has been, but that’s sometimes easily forgettable in the most individual team sport known to man. Lights-out pitching efforts undeniably win championships, but the formula for success in baseball is much more complex than that. The Giants know this. They’ve been there before.
So, after notching his third win as a member of the Giants while lowering his National League ERA to 2.66 in 2014, Peavy’s stone-faced grin didn’t turn into an upheaval of a smile. It didn’t matter that he had just pitched one of the best games of his career.
This was business as usual.
The post-game handshake line is past the point of relishing one-game accomplishments, because at this point of the season, it’s all about overtaking the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the NL West. That wouldn’t be possible for the Giants if Peavy wasn’t in uniform. He’s made a big difference for a team formerly out of sorts and is the most underrated trade deadline acquisition because of it.